tek's rating:

The Aviator (PG-13)
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First of all, the movie is a lot better than my rating suggests. It's just... while I liked it, I dunno. It was a pretty long movie, and not always easy to watch. Anyway, it's a biopic about Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio). It starts out in 1914, very briefly, when he was a little kid. It then skips forward to Hughes as a young man in 1927, having inherited his family's fortune. He was producing an epic movie, "Hell's Angels," that ended up taking a few years to make, and went way over budget, because his standards were very exacting. And he very well could have gone bankrupt. And even when it was finally finished, he didn't seem satisfied with it, even if everyone else thought it was like the best thing ever. He'd later produce two other movies, "Scarface" and The Outlaw. Not much attention was actually paid by this film to "Scarface," and it seemed like the attention given to "The Outlaw" was intermittent, not as integral to the plot as "Hell's Angels" was, though there was an interesting scene where he had to defend that movie to the Production Code Administration, who didn't want the movie being released, because of star Jane Russell's bust.

But anyway, Hughes had a great deal going on aside from making movies. Mainly, he was an aviator. That's what most of this movie is about, starting an airplane manufacturing company, designing ever-greater aircraft, always pushing the boundaries of what could be done. And there were contracts with the government, and the purchase of an airline (TWA), and competition with another airline (Pan Am), and eventually an investigation by a senator who had proposed a bill which would help Pan Am and devastate TWA, a bill which of course Hughes opposed. The movie also deals with several romantic relationships Hughes had over the years, mainly Katherine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett) and Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale). Another major aspect of the movie is Hughes's increasing psychological problems. He had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, a germ phobia, possible hallucinations, occasional verbal tics that seemed to me like Tourette's, and paranoia. The only people he seemed to trust were Noah Dietrich (John C. Reilly), who ran his business for him, and Glenn "Odie" Odekirk, an aerospace engineer who worked for him. These problems were mainly what made it hard for me to watch the movie, but also mainly what made it compelling. (And also, kind of gave me a sense of relief, because even if I see at least a couple of these things in myself to some degree, I'm sure it'll never be nearly as bad for me as it was for him.) But what's also interesting is that no matter how bad it got, when it was necessary he could always manage to pull himself together and do what had to be done, for the good of his company and his dream. That takes a kind of strength which I don't know if most people can really understand. ...On the other hand, I found it kind of hard to believe someone with all these problems could also be a playboy. But I guess women were one of two things that helped him overcome his problems for awhile; the other, of course, being aviation.

So, anyway. I dunno what else to say. It had a great cast, there were some very amusing moments, and some cool triumphant moments, and some traumatic stuff (including a plane crash during a test flight, which caused such severe injuries, that it was jarring to see him up and about a few months/minutes later). Um... and the movie ends in 1947, I guess. I wasn't really happy with where it ended, but whatever. It was an interesting story. Not one I feel the need to ever watch again, and not one I enjoyed as much as I probably should have, but... definitely interesting.

based on a true story
mental health index